Tendulkar to hike stake in Kerala Blasters FC, bring other investors
Other | Photo Credit: Reuters

Former cricketer Sachin Tendulkar is increasing his stake in Kerala Blasters FC, one of the franchisees in the domestic club football tournament India Super League (ISL), along with one or two more partners, including Muthoot Pappachan Group (MPG), sources told VCCircle.

Currently PVP Ventures own 60 per cent stake in the club.

“Tendulkar, who currently owns 40 per cent stake, will be raising his stake significantly while the Muthoot Pappachan Group is buying 20 per cent stake in the football club. One or two more investors will also be roped in to invest in the team,” said a source close to the development.

When contacted, Tendulkar's spokesperson declined to comment.

The news was first published by The Economic Times.

ISL, which is co-promoted by IMG-Reliance, a joint venture between IMG and Reliance Industries, and Star India and is supported by All India Football Federation (AIFF), incurred losses of around Rs 100 crore in its inaugural season last year. While the average annual franchise cost is Rs 15 crore, franchisees lost Rs 30-35 crore after the inclusion of production costs and other expenses.

The second edition of the tournament is currently on. 

“The exit of PVP Ventures clearly indicates a mismatch in expectations. It is known widely that no sports league is expected to rake in revenues from the first year as it easily takes three-five years to build the brand. It took popular franchisees in the more mature domestic T20 tournament Indian Premier League, such as Kolkata Knight Riders owned by actor Shah Rukh Khan, three years post the launch to start earning,” said Indranil Das Blah, partner, CAA Kwan, a celebrity and sports management company, and CEO of ISL team, Mumbai City FC.

Khan in an interview in 2011 to Business Standard admitted that his franchise broke even in the fourth season of the tourney.

Blah points out that a closer engagement of Tendulkar can also prove to be a boon for the franchisee just like it was in case of Kolkata Knight Riders.

“Shah Rukh Khan was well utilised by the franchisee to promote several brands and this in turn ensured flow of sponsorship money. If the franchisee manages to use Tendulkar, who is already the face of some of the popular brands, in the same manner, then there shouldn't be any dearth of sponsorship revenue for the club,” he said.

In addition to property development company Prime Meridian, online travel company and Oxigen Wallet are some of the sponsors of the franchisee this year. Tendulkar already endorses Musafir.

Meanwhile, in a parallel development, sportswear brand Puma has joined hands with ISL as the official ball and boot partner. The sportswear brand has come on board as a sponsor for three years.

Star India, one of the co-promoters of ISL, is part of 21st Century Fox, a media entertainment firm controlled by Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch also controls News Corp, the parent of this news website.

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